NEWS
04/02/2019 9:17 AM IST

Rapper 21 Savage Taken Into ICE Custody For Allegedly Overstaying Visa

Immigration officials say the 26-year-old artist, legally named Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is from the U.K. and not from Atlanta.

Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage was reportedly detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement early Sunday morning after being accused of overstaying a visa.

The 26-year-old artist, legally named Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, has publicly identified himself as being from Atlanta, but agents said he is actually from the United Kingdom, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

He was taken into custody as part of a “targeted operation,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told the outlet.

Abraham-Joseph entered the U.S. legally in July 2005 but failed to leave when his visa expired the following year, according to ICE. In 2014, he was convicted of felony drug charges, immigration officials told the Journal-Constitution and The Associated Press.

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Rapper 21 Savage, legally named Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is a British citizen who overstayed his visa, according to immigration officials.

He has been placed into removal proceedings and will go before a federal immigration judge, Cox said in a statement to media.

Representatives for ICE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A law firm representing Abraham-Josep told Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV that attorneys are working with authorities to clear any misunderstandings and get the rapper out of detention.

“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta ... and is actively working in the community-leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy,” the firm told the station Sunday. 

In interviews, Abraham-Joseph has said he grew up in Atlanta, describing joining a gang as a teenager, selling drugs and getting expelled from the DeKalb County School District over a gun possession charge.

Last summer, he hosted what the Journal-Constitution described as his third annual “Issa Back 2 School Drive,” which donated school supplies and clothing to students at DeKalb County schools.

He has been nominated in two categories at this year’s Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for “Rockstar” with fellow artist Post Malone. The award ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 10.

This article has been updated with comment from the law firm representing Abraham-Joseph.